How to Make Birth Control Pills More Effective

People take birth control pills for many reasons- to help control painful periods, to reduce heavy bleeding, to help with acne, and of course, to prevent pregnancy. If you are taking birth control pills for contraception- these tips are for you!

The SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT tip is to take your pill at the EXACT SAME TIME EVERY DAY! I recommend either setting an alarm on your phone or watch, or consider using an APP like KnowYourMeds that will send you a text notification every day at the same time to remind you to take your pill. Why is this important? Because when people take their pill “at bedtime” or when they get up, the time can vary by several hours each day, which decreases the efficacy of the pill. In my 30 years of clinical experience, I’ve seen as many pill failures from this daily time variance as I have from truly forgotten or missed pills. This is especially true for college students who may have early classes two days/week, but late starts the other days, and/or they sleep in very late on weekends after Friday/Sat night evenings out. Additionally, when you don’t have a set time that you take the pill, it’s frankly easier to miss pills all together, especially when you are traveling or have a disruption in your daily routine.

The second tip may seem obvious, but especially for young women (because teens & twenty-somethings are generally uber-fertile) use a second form of contraception in addition to the pill. A barrier method like condoms are ideal, since they also prevent transmission of infections. Remember that although birth control pills are very effective, all forms of contraception have failures so doubling up methods improves effectiveness.

My final tip is to BE SURE you start your next pill pack on time. I’ve seen many patients unexpectedly conceive when after not starting a new pill pack on the scheduled day. Common reasons for this error include not realizing they had run out of their prescription (so they need to get a refill and that delays the start by a couple days) or simply because after not taking (or at least punching out) the placebo pills during their period, they were out of the daily habit and simply forgot to start the next pack.

#healthtipsforwomen #collegelife #collegebound #parentingteens #parentingcollegekids #birthcontrolpills

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